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Sunday reflections

Sunday reflections (267)

Find all the sunday reflections by our priests at the parish here.

Theme: Let God do

Have you ever had a burning bush experience? Have you ever known a moment in which you were so profoundly in touch with the presence of God that your life from then on was totally transformed by that encounter? Moses’ experience of God, as shared today in Exodus was such an encounter. There at the bush that burned but was not consumed, Moses knew the awesome presence of God and from within that ambience of fear and fascination he began to realize his true identity and his purpose in life. Burning bush experiences are fraught with absolute truth. There is no dissembling in that moment; there is only the sheer terror but also the great thrill of realizing who God is and who I am before God. This realization is followed by a further incredible awareness that despite who I am and who I am not, despite what I have done and what I have neglected to do, God chooses to be present to me, to call me, to grace me, to call and grace others through me. Paul’s burning bush experience happened on the Damascus road and the passionate faith in Jesus that took root in him that day is palpable in all his writings today. Samuel and Isaiah discovered their bushes burning in the temple. Each went forth from that experience resolute in his desire to serve God and God’s people as best he could despite the personal cost.

Theme: Changed from within

Most transformation experiences whether good and bad are an inherent aspect of the human condition. Transformations are clearly observable in nature as one season yields to another; natural processes are sometimes beautiful, sometimes frightful. When human beings participate in the process of transformation, the results can be similarly remarkable and equally ambivalent. For example the transformation of a baby to a child to an adult can be amazing to witness, but when that same human being is ravaged by a debilitating illness; one must look much deeper to find the person’s true loveliness.

Theme: Temptations

Humanity has always struggled with the question ‘where can I Find God?’ Some attest that God can be found in the faces of the poor and the struggling people. Others mention of finding God in silence and others in reflection. These six weeks of Lent is an opportunity for rediscovering God in a more organized manner not because the sense of God has been lost or forgotten but because this liturgical season offers an opportunity of deepening the ever evolving relationship which each of us shares with God. In her continuing effort to assist believers in their individual and collective efforts at finding God, the Church keeps us in touch with the living Word of God.

Theme: Here I am Lord, send me

This week, we are invited to consider the spiritual astonishment of three of the great ones within our Judaeo-Christian tradition, Isaiah, Paul and Peter. Each of the readings details the special call of these three men as a life-changing event. While considering the vocational experiences of these, our ancestors in the faith, we are also challenged to examine our own personal calls to conversion and discipleship. Although the circumstances of each vocation are unique, there are some discernable characteristics which seem to be common to all vocations. Because these characteristics are so rudimentary, perhaps they could be referred to as ‘the three Rs’, which are, realization, repentance and readiness. When a divine proposal is initially recognized, the person to whom it has been proffered enters into a process of realization whereby he/she becomes aware of God as all holy, all good, all loving and all giving. By the same token and as a result of realizing who God is; one also becomes aware of self before God as a person fully undeserving and yet totally in need of all that God is. This self realization issues forth in a spirit of repentance that looks to God for a healing that will bring both holiness and wholeness to the believer. The third characteristic of the vocational experience flows quite naturally from the first two. In full realization of God and of self and in full recognition that his/her need for repentance can always be met and answered, the believer stands in readinessto be and to do all that his/her vocation will require.

Theme:  Love is essential

In today’s readings we are presented with rich theological fare, where dedicated lives of Jeremiah and Jesus are wrapped around Paul’s celebration of the virtue of love. Paul’s address to the Corinthians is quite beautiful and poetical he lifts us to the heights of idealism and takes our imaginations to that perfect place where love endures to conquer all with its grace. Jeremiah and Jesus illustrate most expressively through their lives that love not only sings and celebrates; love also answers God’s call, despite the difficulty that will entail. This is how love answer God’s will. It is faithful despite the temptation to stray. Love is ready to forgive and makes valiant efforts at forgetting the hurtful aspects of life together. Love holds out even when nest eggs are forced to hatch too soon. Love survives when old age claims looks and memory and fervor.

Theme: Powered by the Word

When Mother Teresa she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she said in her acceptance speech, ‘with this prize I am going to make a home for any who have no home … if we can create a home for the poor, love will spread and we will be able through this understanding love to bring peace, to be good news to the poor’. Before her death in 1997, this tiny woman’s words had inspired the establishment of more than 200 homes for the poor in 30 world’s poorest countries. Powerful and effective words are also at the heart of today’s liturgy. In the first reading, Ezra read the words of the Law to the gathered assembly so that those words would become the source of their life, the cause of their union and the bond that would forever unite them with God. Paul, in today’s second reading, uses graphic words to drive home the importance of mutual respect for the differences that make community a true reflection of the God in whose image each of us is made. Jesus, in today’s Gospel, took the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and combined two texts to deliver the words that would outline his agenda. Through Jesus’ words and works, the Good News was heard by the poor, captives were liberated, the blind began to see and the oppressed went free. Today, as these words are proclaimed in our hearing, their power challenges us to act upon them.

Theme:  Hearing the right voice

In the Didache which is also called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles written around the year 100 A.D, there are instructions concerning the rite of initiation into Christ written like this ‘Baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, in living water. But if you have not living water, baptize in other water. If you cannot baptize in cold, then in warm … pour water three times on the head.’  Unchanged through the centuries, the sacramental rite of baptism always involves water, whether it is from a small font, a full-size immersion bath or even a fresh water river or lake. For the most part, the water is clear, clean and an appropriate symbol for expressing the baptismal cleansing by which sins are forgiven and the newly initiated are incorporated into Christ and the Church. Today’s feast, with its focus on Jesus’ baptism, invites each of us to remember the grace and blessing of our own baptism.

Theme: Today a Saviour has been born to you

Christmas is finally here. All four weeks of Advent we have been waiting and praying for the coming blessings of Christmas. And now Christmas is here. Today the angels are bringing us the good news of great joy for all the people, for to us is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. This good news of great joy is for all the people of God. As people of God we have a claim to the joy and the peace that the birth of Christ brings to the world. But how do I personally enter into this ‘great joy’ of Christmas? Christmas rings out ‘joy to the world’, yes, but how do I make this joy my own? This is an important question, for, even though God has declared joy to the whole world, there are still many among us who do not flow in this joy, many among us who do not know how to claim this joy and make it their own personally.

Theme: He is the light of Day

A few years ago, a couple from Spain on a visit to Kampala stood on the shores of Lake Victoria at Luzira landing site marveling at its vast expanse and admiring the industriousness of the fishermen who, for generations, had made a living from its bounty. Located about 7 Kilometers from Kampala  City at a height of about  900 feet above sea level, Lake Victoria is bordered by three cone-shaped hills that add to the majestic view. As the couple watched and wondered, a woman approached them. Obviously quite pregnant and smiling pleasantly as she winced against the pain that accompanies imminent birth, she showed them the package she was carrying and, through signs and gestures, asked if they’d like to see its contents.  When the woman shyly unwrapped the parcel, she brought forth a beautifully hand-woven, bright and multi-colored palm leaves mat, the size of an average dinning table. ‘Did you make this?’ the couple asked. Her answering gestures signaled ‘yes’, while her face beamed with pride when they praised her artistry.  Eager to sell her work but also eager to leave the lakeshore, the lovely, soon-to-be mother shifted from one foot to another trying to mask her growing discomfort.  As the exchange was being made, so also were introductions and the couple learned that they were speaking to Namutebi, who was about to ‘to give a child to the light.’ So you are dar a luz. A Spanish term ‘dar a lu’ which literally means ‘to give to the light,’ is virtually pregnant with significance, particularly today, when Christians world over celebrate another mother and the Son to whom she gave birth. Through Jesus Christ, God has come to dwell among us; by virtue of God’s presence, all darkness that had previously threatened to overwhelm humankind is now on notice.  Light has come to birth, the stranglehold of night has been broken.

Theme: We are a people in a continuous expectation

Here we go again! Another liturgical year has ebbed away; a new one is upon us. . . like it or not, time, like an ever-rolling stream is carrying us forward. Having come full circle to a new beginning, things nevertheless look quite familiar. When we read the ancient scriptural selections for yet another Advent, we wonder if there is anything new under the sun. We have heard the texts before; we know the hymns by heart. We have met all the protagonists of this season and can anticipate what John the Baptist, Paul, Luke, Jeremiah, Isaiah and the other prophets are going to say even before their words are proclaimed in our midst.

As we make our way from the Church to the marketplace, to work and to play, we quickly realize that we have become veterans of this season. We will make the lists and do the shopping; we will wrap the presents and decorate the tree. We will write the cards and bake the cakes. We will attend the pageants and parties and when the Christmas story is read, we will mouth the words that have become so indelibly engraved upon our memories “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory: the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love” John 1:14. In that moment and by God’s grace the words we have spoken and heard for decades will challenge us to shake off what may have become rote and routine and awaken to the ever startling and fresh newness of God, present and alive among us! From the moment the incarnate word became flesh and blood, the course of human history was forever altered. God’s gift of Jesus has communicated new meaning and new direction to every individual human story. History, because of God’s word to us in Jesus, is no longer a cyclic repetition of similar events but a linear movement with a beginning, a purpose and a goal, all of which originate and are subsumed in God.

Theme: God is at work among us

When a president is scheduled to make a public appearance, his staff prepares weeks and even months in advance to make certain that the proper protocol will be observed and the leaders’ security will be assured. They procure detailed maps of the area to be visited and designate various routes and search out venues. Guards are posted in selective spots. Every eventuality, both good and bad, is anticipated, all in an effort to make the event as uneventful as possible.

Similarly detailed preparations precede the appearance of religious leaders like the Roman Catholic pontiff and political figureheads like the Queen of England. Programs are scheduled, choral presentations are practiced, gifts are bought and special persons are chosen to present them in the most gracious manner possible so that the honored one is duly recognized and appreciated. On a smaller scale, each of us can probably relate to the task of preparing ourselves, our family and our home in order to welcome and offer hospitality to a boss, to in-laws, to relatives or to anyone with whom we would like to make a good impression.

Theme: Rejoice

A Native African Patriarch who wished to provide for the happy futures of his grandchildren often shared with them the stories of their ancestors. Each story was a tale within a tale; each held not only an entertaining piece of their shared heritage, but also a life lesson intended to cultivate wisdom. On one occasion, this grandpa told his eager young listeners that every person has two wolves inside of them who are engaged in an ongoing struggle. One is the wolf of justice, peace and loving kindness; the other is the wolf of hatred, fear and greed. Which wolf will win? asked one grandson. To that the grandpa replied, ‘whichever one we feed’. During the season of Advent, those who affirm their desire to continue welcoming Christ into their lives are invited to face the wolves that dwell within and vie for the precious food of our energies and attention. Identifying these wolves and calling them by name is a good first step. Deciding which to feed will set the agenda for a lifelong struggle.

Theme: Blessed are those who believe

For those without the gift of faith, the rich scriptural traditions that surround the season of Advent and the feast of Christmas look like simply time-worn stories that have little impact on real life. For the unbelieving, Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem may be no more meaningful than the stories of Frosty the Snowman. His birth at Bethlehem would be of little consequence. It was just a little village about nine miles from Jerusalem where pilgrims could buy animals to offer as sacrifices in the temple. Bethlehem was a place where shepherds could make a decent living. Aside from that, Jesus’ hometown had little else to earn it a place on the map. For those led by doubts, Elizabeth was no more than an older lady whose unexpected maternity surprised and shocked her husband and relatives. Mary’s visit to Elizabeth was simply a matter of a younger woman reaching out to care for an older relative. The leaping of Elizabeth’s child would have little significance for those without faith.

Christking

Theme: He reigns forever

Good numbers of you here present today in this Church have little first-hand experience of kings, queens and their royal reigns. Most nations and tribes of the world are no longer governed by monarchs and in those countries where royal families continue to perdure, their roles are usually limited to that of figureheads. In the 1970’s, Juan Carlos was honored as king of Spain and Elizabeth II of the House of Windsor has been Queen of England since 1952. Japan still venerates there Emperors, the Baganda have the Kabaka, and in Swaziland they have Muswati II; but of the world’s twenty-six remaining monarchs, few function in anything other than a symbolic capacity. In complete juxtaposition to these earthly sovereigns, whose reigns are limited and whose territorial dominions are relegated to only a certain geographical locale and portion of the world’s population, Jesus and his reign are forever and absolute.

Theme: No one knows the day or hour

Speculation about the end of time and the world as we know it is not unusual; seers and sages of all ages have been opining on this subject for centuries. However, whenever a millennial milestone looms on the horizon, speculation seems to soar to fever pitch. When year 2000 A.D was approaching, citizens of the world were bombarded with predictions which ranged anywhere from the horrifying to the amusing. Before that time way back in 1973, a group of 800 people, under the leadership of Richard Kieninger established a community in a rural area 100 miles southwest of Chicago. Believing that the end will come on May 5, 2000, the group hoped to survive by building lighter-than-air vehicles in which to float above the turmoil. Vincent Ferrer who lived around 1350-1419, a Spanish Dominican monk, basing his prediction on the number of verses in the Book of Psalms (2,537 verses), predicted the demise of the world in 3936 A.D

Theme: Complete trust is the perfect gift

Giving is a gentle act, best cultivated in hearts that know they have little to offer and everything to receive. Christian discipleship grows strong and vital amid a network of giving hearts because believers have been blessed with the greatest and the finest gift of all which is the love and the life of the Lord Jesus.

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Sunday Masses

Luganda: 7:30 am.  English: 9:00 am, 11:00 am and 5;00 pm.

Crowd possible, please don't be late! May God bless you!

About Our Church

Welcome to Our Lady of Africa Parish Mbuya. We are located near Bugolobi Township in Nakawa Division. It is about 5 kms from the City Centre of Kampala. Mbuya Catholic Parish is a vibrant and diverse community made up of people from different parts of Uganda. We welcome you warmly and joyfully.

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